Wynne, Sousa shouldn't complain to Ottawa
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne with Finance Minister Charles Sousa. (Brian Kelly/QMI Agency files)
Oscar season is fast approaching — a time to celebrate good actors.
If there were an awards night for bad actors, I’d have two nominations:
The non-Oscar for really bad acting by a finance minister in over his head: The envelope, please:
The award goes to Charles Sousa for his pathetic attempt to slam the feds’ budget, claiming it’s left this province $641 million in the red.
The next non-Oscar goes to Premier Kathleen Wynne: Worst foot-stamping tirade from a premier sadly in need of her own mandate.
She gets it for her insistence the feds are deliberately targeting this province.
“We’re seeing a pattern of the federal government getting out of the business of nation building and particularly turning its back on Ontario,” she told reporters.
Oh, give me a break.
This from the Liberal party who recently blew through $1.1 billion to cancel two gas plants in Mississauga and Oakville to save a couple of seats.
The same party that wasted hundreds of millions of dollars in a failed attempt to privatize the Ornge air ambulance system.
The same party that spent $1 billion on Liberal-friendly consultants and a raft of advisers and assorted hangers-on to produce eHealth electronic health records.
The same government that’s doubled the provincial debt over the last 10 years — to a staggering $272.8 billion.
The same government that fired the head of the Pan Am Games — and gave him almost half a million to go.
Talk about laughing all the way to the bank.
This is the government that’s showed zero restraint in public sector hiring, salaries and perks — even as they professed to be holding the line.
Is it any wonder the feds don’t want to give them any more cash when this bunch of high-spenders simply flush cash down the toilet?
Wynne recently hired former federal finance minister Paul Martin to “consult” on her next money grab — a provincial pension plan. You’ll remember Martin. He was the guy who balanced the federal budget in the late 1990s on the back of — you guessed it — the provincial government of Mike Harris.
For Sousa to lecture federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on balancing a budget is like Ghengis Khan lecturing Mahatma Gandhi on human rights.
Flaherty tries — rightly — to rein in health spending by cutting back on health coverage for refugees and refugee claimants. What does the provincial government do? They push ahead and cover it. Then they whine for more cash.
Sometimes governments have to make tough decisions. It’s not a popularity contest.
This Liberal government is incapable of doing that.
Flaherty lashed back at Wynne’s and Sousa’s comments.
“I’m the finance minister of the government that’s solvent. We’re going to balance the budget next year. We’re almost balanced right now. One of the good things about that is that you have room to move when you’re solvent,” he told reporters.
“The money that’s being put into job creation, job training in Canada is not provincial tax money. It is federal tax money. And it’s not for a provincial government to tell the federal government how to spend federal tax money.”
Wynne and Sousa want everyone to love them. They’ve never found a problem they couldn’t solve by throwing money at it.
They buy labour pace. They buy Liberal seats by killing power plants. They buy byelection by promising subways, hospitals — whatever you want. They were warned by Don Drummond that this province can’t afford the ruinously expensive full-day kindergarten. They pushed ahead anyway.
They’ve brought in two of the biggest tax hikes ever — their health tax and the HST.
And they still can’t balance their budget. Now they have a bigger deficit than the feds.
They caved in to the NDP’s outrageous spending demands in last year’s budget — adding even more to this province’s financial woes.
It has to stop — before they bankrupt us.